PG-13 (strong language, drug use, brief sexuality); 118 min.
People Like Us is a well-acted weeper that walks an unsteady line between the emotional and the darkly comical.
It's about Sam, a guy who realizes he has a half sister, Frankie, and who injects himself into her life without explaining who he is. He befriends her kid, encourages her through substance-abuse recovery and sets up to help her financially.
Since he's the handsome and charming Chris Pine and she's the fetching and approachable Elizabeth Banks, somebody is sure to get the wrong idea. Which is the "darkly comical" bit.
Alex Kurtzman's film meanders a lot and strains to come up with credible reasons for Sam to continue to hide his connection to Frankie long past the point of reason. The juggling between the various relationships -- business and personal -- that Sam is failing in is unwieldy.
But People Like Us has marvelous payoffs, third-act revelations that feel both heartfelt and earned. And Pine and Banks play the heck out of them. It takes some patience, but this turns out to be a film you want to lean into, that you want to be there for, whatever kind of movie this hybrid turns out to be.
-- Roger Moore,
McClatchy-Tribune News Service